By Reed Jaworski
“Be true, do you,” said Jamesville-DeWitt High School freshman Jordan VanStry. Since early January, VanStry has began posting videos of himself dancing and singing to different songs, which has gained him a lot of attention in Central New York. However, with his videos has come flocks of hate about his style, his moves, and his behavior. Many students at J-DHS have gained respect for VanStry after watching his videos and seeing how he dealt with the hate.
VanStry’s notoriety began around Jan. 4, 2013, when he posted his first dance video. VanStry said he made the video with Cicero North Syracuse sophomore Tom Bartyzel because he was bored that night, and wanted to do something different. “Tom and I were hanging out, and we decided to just dance and record it,” said VanStry.
Within the first day of the video being posted to Facebook, VanStry had already received well over 100 likes, as well as lots of positive and negative feedback. The video however has not reached many of the upperclassmen at J-DHS, and is mainly popular with the freshman. Freshmen Emily Firman and Marykate Scheftic agree that VanStry’s moves are really good. Freshman Carson Larussa, a good friend of VanStry said, “the videos are really funny, and I respect him for doing them.” Freshmen and friends of VanStry Jamie St. Amour and Grayson Burns marvel at his confidence and his talent. “I doubt I’d be able to dance like that, let alone have the courage to post it online,” said St. Amour. Similarly, Burns said, “he’s extremely talented, and it’s hard to compare to him.”
However, VanStry said, “most people commented saying I was a faggot, or that I was gay.” VanStry said that he wasn’t really affected by these peoples’ hateful comments, and added, “haters are my motivators.” Freshman Jimmy Boeheim said, “I don’t like (the hate) at all, he’s just doing what he loves, and they’re bullying him.” Sophomores Mack Palin and Paddy Hagan agree with Boeheim, saying VanStry doesn’t deserve this hate.
Although VanStry ignores the hate comments, he uses the critiques to better his videos and dancing. For example, VanStry said, “I read a lot of comments saying I kept repeating the same moves, so I decided to mix up my elements for my next video.”
VanStry has continued to post these dance video and has no plans to stop, despite many urging him to stop. He plans to stop when he loses his love for dancing, or becomes a “super-famous entertainer that doesn’t need to make videos anymore.” VanStry continued his point, saying, “Justin Bieber never quit when people hated on him, and that’s because he’s good at what he does, kind of like myself. However, I don’t plan on pursuing a career in dancing and singing, but if I did, I want to be a back-up dancer for someone famous,” said VanStry.
Recently, VanStry also began posting his renditions of popular songs. The Renaissance man VanStry said he started singing because people told him he couldn’t. Similar to his dance videos, people have mixed emotions over his singing abilities. Junior Maki Mandelis did not think making a song was a great choice for VanStry. “His videos are funny, and he is a great dancer, but his songs took it too far, because they don’t rhyme, and are overly autotuned,” said Mandelis.
VanStry doesn’t worry about the hate comments on his songs. In fact, he only has certain viewers he’s trying to connect with. “I don’t care if guys don’t like my videos, I’m just trying to do it for the ladies,” said VanStry. However, VanStry doesn’t take his songs seriously, saying that he recorded three different songs in an hour, barely putting any time into editing them.
Soon, VanStry is planning his “biggest project yet,” a two person dance video involving his little brother. VanStry said, “People should be ready, it will be amazing.”